Sa halip, asikasuhin niya ang mga kakulangan ng sangay ng gobyerno na kanyang pinamumunuan na hitik sa incompetence at corruption, hindi lang sa pagtugon sa pandemya kundi sa maraming aspeto ng governance.
Kaya hindi nakakasuhan ang ilang matataas na opisyal na naging subject ng pag-iimbestiga namin ay dahil ipinagtatanggol niya sa halip na makasuhan.
Hindi trabaho ng Senado ang magsampa ng demanda. Trabaho ng Executive Branch iyon. Judiciary naman ang magpapakulong. Mahirap bang i-memorize yan?
Since the time the NTF-ELCAC was created, being the principal sponsor of their annual budget, I have been their most reliable ally in the Senate – until now.
That said, there’s no point discussing, much less arguing with people who refuse to listen to reason and adhere to the rule of law. The Senate as an institution has made our collective and legal position on the issue of the appointment of Parlade as an active military officer in a civilian position – which the Constitution clearly proscribes.
All I can say is: They made their choice, and it will cost them.
NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson Sec. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. should just read Article XVI, Sec 5, paragraph 4 of the 1987 Constitution when he decides on the fate of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson. He may not even need one week to review.
The said provision in the Constitution is clear: “No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”
As such, Sec. Esperon and Malacañang’s legal staff can simply ask themselves the question: is NTF-ELCAC a civilian office or a unit of the AFP?
Meanwhile, Art. XVI, Sec. 3 of the Constitution also decrees that the armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics. As such, “no member of the military shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any partisan political activity, except to vote.”
The issue goes beyond the attacks issued by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. on the organizers of community pantries as well as against the members of the Senate. A temporary ‘gag order’ is thus not the appropriate response.
In the first place, as an active member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Parlade “cannot be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government,” according to Art. XVI, Sec. 5, Paragraph 4 of no less than the 1987 Constitution.
That said, the AFP/DND should have heeded the call of the Senate to immediately recall him back to the AFP more than a month ago. He should be censured for dabbling in politics instead of just focusing on his inherent mission as commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command – that is, to fight threats such as terrorism and insurgency.
Meanwhile, as far as Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy is concerned, her political statements are her and the NTF-ELCAC’s responsibility to the Filipino people.
It is a no-brainer that my friend from way back, Salvador Panelo, being a member of the President’s Cabinet, will defend him, right or wrong. Hence, I’m willing to give him enough leeway.
That said, Art. VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution is clear and unequivocal on the participation of each and every Senator in voting for or against the ratification of a treaty or international agreement, which the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement is.
In fact, official records of the Senate will tell us that the vote on May 27, 1999 was 18-5, without which the same would not have been valid and effective.
More importantly: Whether or not an international agreement or a treaty has already been made valid and effective, it is still wrong to assert that a sitting senator and even an ordinary citizen of this country has no more freedom to express his opinion with something that concerns our national interest.
Dapat nakabukod o hiwalay ang botohan ng Senado at Kamara de Representantes sa pagtalakay ng pagbabago sa probisyon o bahagi ng ating Saligang Batas.
Ito ang nilalaman ng Senate Resolution 623 na inihain ni Senador Panfilo Lacson bilang tugon sa mga galaw na baguhin ang ilang probisyon ng 1987 Constitution.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Ayon sa senador, ginagawa na ito ng Mababang Kapulungan bagama’t nasa lebel pa lang ito ng committee.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed Senate Resolution 623 to unequivocally clarify that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” Lacson said.
He noted the House of Representatives is doing it now although still at the committee level.
Without the certainty that both chambers of Congress will be voting separately, and there is none due to the vagueness of that particular provision in the 1987 Constitution – and only the Supreme Court can make such interpretation – it’s like taking one big step into a mousetrap, or even quicksand for that matter.
Having said that, I think all of us 24 senators should discuss this matter very carefully before we even consider plenary debates on the said resolution if indeed there is one filed.
To The Manila Times: Please allow us to set the record straight regarding your Dec. 4, 2020 editorial, which claimed, among other things, that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has made it his “advocacy” to criminalize red-tagging.
Ito ang tiniyak ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense, sa usapin ng posibleng pagtukoy sa red-tagging bilang isang asuntong kriminal.
Ang komite ni Lacson ang nanguna sa pagdinig ng Mataas na Kapulungan sa naturang usapin.
Isiniwalat din ng mambabatas na matapos ang pagdinig ng pinamumunuang komite sa nabanggit na usapin, puspusan na ang ginagawang pag-aaral ng kanyang tanggapan sa lahat ng argumento at position papers na isinumite ng dalawang panig sa naganap na tatlong pagdinig.
The 1987 Constitution will be the ultimate guide on whether there is basis to criminalize “red-tagging,” Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson said he and his legislative staff are poring over position papers and other materials gathered from all sides during the last three hearings on the issue.
“We will study and consider the matter, but the bottom line is that such a move will not violate our Constitution,” he said in an interview on DZAR radio.
“One major issue to be addressed if we are to criminalize red-tagging or red-baiting is if it will infringe on our Constitution’s provision ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This is a basic right that cannot be violated. That said, there are opposing views that such freedom is not absolute – that is why we have laws penalizing libel and cyber-libel,” he added.
Upang matiyak na hindi ito nakikidoble sa ibang ahensiya, kailangang mapag-aralan ang mga umiiral na tungkulin ng Philippine International Trading Center (PITC).
Binigyang-diin ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa harap ng usapin na mistulang napipigilan nito ang pag-realign ng pondo para sa mahahalagang proyekto.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings. The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” pagsisiwalat ni Lacson sa panayam ng ABS-CBN News Channel.
“So development is stunted in some ways because funds that should have been available are returned to the Treasury and cannot be realigned for other needs,” dagdag ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday stressed the need to revisit the functions of the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), which is turning out to be a redundant agency.
Lacson said the PITC can potentially stunt national development since the funds “entrusted” to it for procurement cannot be used and realigned for urgent programs.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings. The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“So development is stunted in some ways because funds that should have been available are returned to the Treasury and cannot be realigned for other needs,” he added.
Regardless of the constitutional issues involving the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 budget bill, it is still good that the Senate has enough time to approve our own version, leaving room for the bicameral conference and submission to the President for approval, thus avoiding a re-enacted budget.
Late yesterday afternoon, I submitted my Finance Subcommittee C report covering all the agencies assigned to me as Committee on Finance Vice Chair, in compliance with the Oct. 26 deadline set by the Committee.
However, I based my report on the National Expenditure Program, with a caveat that necessary adjustments will be made once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted by the House.
Now that the GAB is available as reported, once we get hold of our copy, I’ll make adjustments based on the House version of the budget bill.
Last Oct. 16, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021. Yet as of today, it continues to tackle amendments via the so-called “small group.”
Art. VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution is unequivocally clear, regardless of where the amendments will come from. Wala namang sinasabi ang Constitution na pag naghahabol ng “errata,” hindi ito applicable: “Upon the last reading of a bill, NO AMENDMENT THERETO SHALL BE ALLOWED, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.”
Amid promises of “best efforts” to transmit the budget bill by end-October, if the House still ends up transmitting the bill on Nov. 5, does it mean that the description “House of the People” is all lip service?
Just so it is clear, canceling or postponing the election to pave the way for the extension of the terms of office of the President, Vice-President, 12 senators, district representatives as well as elected local government officials beyond June 30, 2022 is a clear violation of the Constitution.
Thus, any discussion or debate on this issue is an exercise in futility, if not a waste of time and energy.
Also, since the Constitution also provides that “elections for the members of Congress and local positions (except barangay officials) occur every second Monday of every third year after May 1992, and presidential and vice presidential elections occur every second Monday of May every sixth year after May 1992”, and that “elected officials, except those at the barangay level, start (and end) their terms of office on 30 June of the election year”, the proposal of the Commission on Elections to extend the May 2022 elections a day or two before or after the dates specified under the Constitution may face a constitutional challenge before the Supreme Court.
This is not to mention valid issues and concerns involving the security of the “secrecy and sanctity of the ballot” as also provided under the 1987 Constitution, as trending may occur if the ballots are not properly safeguarded.
At the end of the day, it is the Constitution that should guide all of us in this regard.
Stating his strong position on the issue before the community of nations, many of whom are leaders of countries that continue to grapple with the threats of terrorism, made it more significant.
Indeed, terrorism is a threat that knows no timing nor borders as shown in recent bombings in our own turf. This led us to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 that contains the needed legal backbone to let our security forces implement the law with efficacy and confidence, even proactively – as well as the needed safeguards to curb potential abuse and violation of the 1987 Constitution.
At the hearing on the 2021 budgets of the Commission on Audit and Office of the Ombudsman, Sen. Lacson stressed the DBM has no authority under the Constitution to issue a discontinuance against a constitutional body such as the COA – after noting that the DBM issued a budget circular providing for the discontinuance of Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) of COA amounting to a total of P173M under the 2020 budget as they were categorized as congressional initiative and as “For Later Release.”
“My point is, Mr. Chairman, under the Constitution – particularly Sec. 5, Art 9-A, it provides for the automatic and regular release of the annual appropriations of constitutional commissions. And COA very clearly is one of three constitutional commissions, Comelec and CSC being the others. Of course even the judiciary,” Sen. Lacson said as he also cited jurisprudence (Bengzon vs Drilon, GR 103524), where fiscal autonomy allows the constitutional bodies and the judiciary full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. “So pag sinabi nating fiscal autonomy, walang pakialam ang DBM.”
COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo said that while they are okay with the DBM’s decision “considering the difficulties the govt was having with funding in view of the pandemic,” he would agree that “it’s a violation of fiscal autonomy under the Constitution.”
“I’d like to manifest this very clearly, let this not serve as a precedent for future issuances by DBM; huwag lang gawing precedent setting ito. If I may add, emergency or no emergency, hindi pwedeng precedent ito,” Sen. Lacson said.
To Federico Pascual: Please allow us to set the record straight regarding some claims you made in your Sept. 6, 2020 column in The Philippine Star – including the suggestion that Senator Panfilo M. Lacson’s Senate bill enables President Rodrigo Duterte to “designate” who will succeed him.
To the Inquirer: Please allow us to set the record straight regarding the column of Prof. Edilberto de Jesus (“Dangerous distractions,” Business Matters, 9/5/20), where he touched on a proposed piece of legislation that aims to avert a potential constitutional crisis and leadership vacuum by extending the constitutional line of succession.
Dapat maisabatas na agad ang “Designated Survivor” legislation upang maiwasan ang constitutional crisis at pagkabakante ng liderato ng bansa sakali mang magkaroon ng ‘di-inaasahang pangyayari (“exceptional circumstances”) kagaya ng terorismo.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson na naghain ng naturang panukala sa Senado, ang mabilis na pagsasabatas nito ay magsisilbing lunas sa limitasyon sa isinasaad ng Saligang Batas tungkol sa pagpasa ng liderato ng bansa o line of succession bunga ng mga ‘di-inaasahang pangyayari.
“Because of the failure of Congress to pass the necessary legislation in extending the line of succession beyond the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a constitutional crisis is possible if all four top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the SONA due to a terrorist attack in the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the President and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
“If such a tragedy occurs, who will act as President until the next election of the President and Vice President, since the constitutional line of succession to the President stops at the House Speaker?” tanong ng mambatas.
To avert a potential constitutional crisis and leadership vacuum, the process to pass a “Designated Survivor” measure guaranteeing the continuity and stability of operations in government should be started immediately, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.
Lacson said recent events involving “exceptional circumstances” such as terrorism illustrate the need to address soonest the limitations of the 1987 Constitution’s current provision on the line of succession.
“Because of the failure of Congress to pass the necessary legislation in extending the line of succession beyond the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a constitutional crisis is possible if all four top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the SONA due to a terrorist attack in the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the President and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” Lacson said.
“If such a tragedy occurs, who will act as President until the next election of the President and Vice President, since the constitutional line of succession to the President stops at the House Speaker?” he added.
“With all that said, I hope the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and Laws will immediately conduct a hearing on Senate Bill No. 982, which I filed in August last year – or appoint me as subcommittee chairman, as I am willing and ready to sponsor and defend such an important piece of legislation on the Senate floor,” Lacson said.
This kind of “threat” worked in the past: Mighty’s P40-billion tax settlement; Philippine Airlines’ settling a P6-billion obligation to the government; the Mile Long property taken over by government; and the rehabilitation of Boracay, to name a few cases that did not need to undergo lengthy and expensive court litigation – and I would say has therefore served its purpose, rightly or wrongly.
Whether the government takeover of telcos is justified and compliant with the provisions of the Constitution, given the circumstances, is another matter altogether, however.
Having said that, telcos should treat the President’s pronouncement as a wake-up call to improve their services to the public, as one thing in the President’s statement on the issue is certain and true: that our country’s telecommunications services pale in comparison with our neighbors and with other jurisdictions in terms of speed and efficiency.
But what the President failed to issue is a similar warning to some local government unit executives who extort money from the telcos in exchange for permits and licenses as well as “protection” from delays in the construction of such facilities, especially in areas where the presence of armed groups like the CPP-NPA is strong.
And unlike their Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, our law does not allow one-party consent in the conduct of electronic or technical surveillance.
While our Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is replete with safeguards to ensure that human rights of suspected terrorists are observed and protected, what the US Congress passed as their version of an Anti-Terrorism law is much stronger, even cruel to some extent because their policy makers and citizenry give the highest premium to the security of their country and the protection of US citizens stationed anywhere in the world.
Under the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Thus, the plan of those opposing the Anti-Terrorism Bill to hold protests on Independence Day – regardless of whether they have read and understood the bill – is their basic right, guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.
Terrorism knows no timing nor borders. Some of our country’s policy-makers, especially our people, should know better than just criticizing and believing the massive disinformation campaign against a measure that can secure and protect us as well as our families and loved ones from terrorist acts perpetrated in a manner so sudden, least expected and indiscriminate – as in anytime, probably even today, tomorrow or next week.
That said, I incorporated most of the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism laws of other strong democracies like Australia and the United States, further guided by the standards set by the United Nations, save for the reglementary period of detention in which we adopted the shortest time of 14 days – compared to Thailand with up to 30 days; Malaysia, up to two years; Singapore at 720 days extendible to an indefinite period of detention without formal charges; and Indonesia, up to 120 additional days. Also, safeguards have been put in place to ensure the rights of those detained.
With the help of many of my colleagues who interpellated and proposed their individual amendments, including all the members of the minority bloc, I was more than accommodating to accept their amendments as long as we would not end up with another dead-letter law such as the Human Security Act of 2007, which has so far resulted in just one conviction after more than a decade of its implementation and just one proscribed terrorist organization such as the Abu Sayyaf Group.
To the critics, I dare say: I hope the day will not come when you or any of your loved ones will be at the receiving end of a terrorist attack, so much so that it will be too late for you to regret convincing the Filipino people to junk this landmark legislation.
Speaker Cayetano may have a point since the Constitution provides that bills of local application like franchise measures must originate from the House of Representatives.
He is wrong in equating it to the Charter change issue, though, since as practiced and for expediency, we conduct committee hearings on tax and budget measures even before the House transmits its approved version of the bill to the Senate.
What can be considered blatantly violative of the Constitution is if the Senate committee chairperson reports out on the floor for plenary debates the committee report. This is something we have not done and will never do.
Having said that, what I understand to be tackled by the Public Services Committee are not the bills in connection with the ABS-CBN franchise but a filed resolution to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN that is being questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition in which I have earlier expressed reservation out of courtesy to a co-equal branch that has already given due course to the said petition.
Being bicameral, without the Senate agreeing to amending the Charter via a constituent assembly, no amount of determined efforts by the House members will bring to reality new provisions of the 1987 Constitution, whether economic or political.
Ipinanukala ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pagkakaroon ng “reserba” pang lider ng bansa sakaling mapahamak ang Bise Presidente, Senate President at House Speaker na batay sa Saligang Batas ay kahalili ng Pangulo kung hindi na nito kayang mamuno.
Isinampa ni Lacson ang Senate Bill 982, na tinaguriang “Designated Survivor” Bill na naglalayong hindi mabakante ang liderato ng pamahalaan at magtuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operasyon ng gobyerno sakali mang mapahamak ang mga nabanggit na opisyal.
“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a “designated survivor” bill to guarantee the continuity and stability of operations in government in case of a terrorist attack, major disaster or other “exceptional circumstances” where the President and those specified by the Constitution to succeed him or her are killed or permanently disabled.
Lacson said Senate Bill 982 ensures the office of the President will not be vacated even in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the Acting President.
“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” Lacson said.
Labag sa batas ng Pilipinas ang inpormasyon o materyal na bunga ng wiretapping activities na “imported” o galing sa ibang bansa, ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang naturang impormasyon ay salungat din sa pangunahing obligasyon ng Estado na protektahan ang mga Pilipino laban sa pang-aabuso at banta.
Inilatag ni Lacson, na naging pinuno ng Philippine National Police mula 1999 hanggang 2001, ang isang klarong halimbawa kung ang isang indibiduwal galing sa ibayong dagat at mahulihan ng marijuana paglapag sa paliparan sa bansa ay siguradong agad na sasampahan ng kaso ng paglabag sa mga batas ng Pilipinas laban sa ilegal na droga.
“What if someone brings into the country marijuana which he/she got or bought from a foreign country where possession and use of the same is legal? Will the person who brought in the marijuana not be violating the Dangerous Drugs Act?” tanong pa ni Lacson.
Wiretapped information from foreign sources linking Filipinos to crimes such as illegal drugs is a violation of Philippine law and the State’s policy to protect its citizens, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed.
Lacson likened the situation to a person who bought marijuana in a country where it is legal, but will be arrested for violating the Philippine Dangerous Drugs Act once he/she brings it into the Philippines.
“What if someone brings into the country marijuana which he/she got or bought from a foreign country where possession and use of the same is legal? Will the person who brought in the marijuana not be violating the Dangerous Drugs Act?” said Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001.
He also contested Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s reported pronouncement that if the wiretapped conversation came from a country where wiretapping is not illegal, it “may be passed on to the Philippine government and considered admissible in Philippine courts.”
Makakatulog na nang mahimbing sa gabi si Senador Panfilo Lacson kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang pagbabantay niya sa kaban ng bayan laban sa mga wala sa lugar na paggastos at paghahangad ng mga kasamahan na kumupit sa pondong ito.
Nararamdaman na kasi ng mambabatas na nagiging epektibo na ang naumpisahang krusada laban sa pag-abuso ng mga kasamahan sa pambansang gastusin ng pamahalaan dahil sa katakawan sa pork barrel.
Ayon kay Lacson, bilang isang mambabatas ay kabilang sa kanyang sinumpaang obligasyon sa publiko ay ang mahigpit na bantayan laban sa pang-aabuso ang taunang gastusin ng pamahalaan.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” pahayag ni Lacson.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” he said.
“My critics would claim I am just making a lot of noise but I do not let such negative comments affect, much less stop me. This is my biggest advocacy because the budget is the lifeblood of the nation. If this blood is taken away, the nation may suffer from anemia, or even a stroke,” he added.
The 2019 national budget is doomed, but not to our own liking.
I will raise a big legal issue before my colleagues in the Upper House out of this latest scheme that our Lower House counterparts led by their Speaker is resorting to, in order to manipulate the ratified bicameral committee report.
Based on information shared by several members of the House of Representatives themselves, and I completely agree, among the other manipulations being undertaken by the House leadership on the ratified bicameral report prior to the printing and enrollment of the budget measure, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has no business or legal authority to prepare and impose the menu list of the Department of Health appropriations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) worth PhP25 million in individual allocations for her favored congressmen, including a PhP2.5-million allocation for the purchase of an ambulance; while only PhP8 million are being distributed to those who did not support her election as Speaker.
Worse, exercising this latest brazen, illegal act after the bicameral committee report has been adopted and ratified by both houses smacks of grave abuse of discretion on the part of Speaker Arroyo, not to mention a clear violation of the 1987 Constitution, specifically Art VI Sec 26 paragraph 2, thus:
I maintain, and I trust that majority of my colleagues in the Senate will agree, that such realignments ordered by Speaker Arroyo prior to the printing of the proposed 2019 budget is clearly unconstitutional and inappropriate.
Needless to say, and it is basis in our legislative process that the House as a body has the sole power to make the amendments, not the Speaker, and certainly not after the ratification of the bicameral report.
Sa sambayanan may utang ang mga sundalo sa mga biyayang tinatamasa ng mga ito kapalit ng pagiging tapat sa Saligang Batas at tamang pagtupad sa mga tungkulin na nakaatang sa kanilang balikat.
Ito ang binigyang-diin ni Senador at dating Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Panfilo Lacson bilang pagpapaalala na produkto ng sama-samang pagtatrabaho ng mga mambabatas ang mga batas na nalilikha para sa kapakinabangan ng iba’t-ibang sangay ng pamahalaan kabilang na ang sandatahang lakas.
Ayon pa kay Lacson, maliwanag na naman umano na ang mga senador ay halal ng taumbayan kaya lumalabas na ikinakatawan lamang ng mga ito ang sambayanan sa sa paghinang ng mga batas.
Hindi man matuloy ang Charter Change, siguradong makakamit pa rin ang mithiin na isinusulong ng Duterte administration sa ilalim ng pederalismo, sa pamamagitan ng panukala ni Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Nakapaloob na kasi sa Senate Bill 40 na tinaguriang Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) at isinulong ni Lacson kasabay ng pagbukas ng kasalukuyang Kongreso ang halos lahat ng mithiin ng pederalismo.
Pangunahing nilalaman ng BRAVE bill ni Lacson ang direktang pagbibigay ng pondo sa mga lokal na pamahalaan upang mapondohan ng mga ito ang mga proyektong kailangan nila base sa personal na obserbasyon sa mga nasasakupan.
For their own sake, they should not allow themselves to look pathetic and worse, ridiculous. Having said that, they should read the 1987 Constitution in its entirety, or at the very least, Art XVII, Sec. 1 (Amendments or Revisions) in relation to Art VI Sec. 1 (Legislative Department) that explicitly refers to “the Congress” as the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Interpreting “the Congress” under Art XVII to refer to one chamber only is at best, self-serving. They pride themselves as lawyers in good standing but it only takes a layman who knows how to read and understand simple words and literature in order to appreciate what is right and wrong.
As for questioning the House’s move before the Supreme Court, there is need, and we will not. They can propose amendments or revision all they want but at the end of the day, a plebiscite would necessitate an item in the General Appropriations Act to be appropriated for the Commission on Elections to conduct such plebiscite.
Without the Senate, how can such appropriation materialize?
The goals of federalism can still be met without the need to spend much time and resources to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution, if Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson’s Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) bill is passed into law.
Lacson said the BRAVE bill, which is similar to federalism as it empowers local government units by giving them funding for their development projects, even gained the support of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.
“Parang federalism yan dahil ibababa ang karamihan ng pondo o malaking bahagi ng pondo ng national government, ilalatag papunta sa kanayunan sa probinsya nang sa ganoon matuto sila mag-develop on their own,” Lacson said in an interview on DZBB on Sunday.